As you grow older, you come to realise that it is so much better never to meet people—there is less to them face to face; better let that great aunt in Toronto or that celebrity you always admired go unmet. Then you might love them; if you meet them, it ruins the emptiness—the mystery is what we value. If you see them, all those romantic dreams you had about how they worked for CBC and were a producer on The Muppet Show and knew Jim Henson—how they shepherded Frankie Howerd about when he came over, suspected he banged the set’s doctor during a private consultation; with your great aunt outside with her clipboard and show notes—all those adventures, all those will go if you meet them.
You could say that you never meet anyone—you could say that it is all a fiction; the self is a fiction, quicksilver—you can read about a person and establish their character, it never changes from the crib; and yet, if you meet them, the character is there, just as it was written down…and so is something else—there is another thing, whipped cream from a spray can; and you will always walk home, as you always did, from the bar or café and feel that it was not quite right—there was something you never quite caught in that encounter and now, underneath the orange streetlights, you feel empty and cheated. When will I meet “them”?—you never do.
So I refuse to meet anyone now, and so I am never disappointed; everyone is very beautiful and very alive to me—as if you reflected arc lights on quicksilver. So I decline to make eye contact with the girls who serve at the café, and they hate me or pity me for it; and I know them better than their parents; perhaps I will only wear mirrored sunglasses at all times, so if you meet me you will only meet…yourself.